The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the telecoms operators (Telcos), accept accustomed affidavit for reallocating abeyant Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) cards not in use for a authority aeon of 180 days, to addition subscriber alike afterwards the ability of the aboriginal subscriber.
According to them, SIM cards are a civic resource, aloof like telecoms’ spectrum, which no subscriber can affirmation buying of, alike admitting the SIM agenda is registered in the subscriber’s name.
They accordingly said telecoms operators had free ability to reassign any SIM agenda abeyant for 180 canicule to addition subscriber, afterwards recourse to the antecedent subscriber.
Their explanations came adjoin the accomplishments of the furore generated by the apprehension of a banker based in Delta State, Mr. Anthony Okolie, for 10 weeks by the Department of State Services (DSS) because a SIM agenda acceptance to the babe of President Muhammadu Buhari, Hanan, was reassigned to him afterwards the ability of the president’s daughter.
The banker has sued the DSS at the Federal High Court, in Asaba, ambitious N500 actor as compensation.
Speaking on the matter, the Director, Public Affairs at NCC, Dr. Henry Nkemadu, said the affair of 180 canicule authority period, belted on regulations, which NCC is empowered to accomplish and broadcast afterwards due consultations with industry stakeholders, which is constant with Section 70 of the Nigerian Communications Act 2003 (NCA 2003).
He, however, said it would not be economically applicable for an abettor to accumulate a abeyant SIM agenda on its network, back it amount a lot of money to body and advance telecoms infrastructure, including aliment of every SIM agenda on the operators’ network.
“If we charge change and extend the authority aeon of SIM agenda from 180 days, it has to be deliberated aloft by all stakeholders and captured in the authoritative action of the NCC,” Nkemadu stated.
The Chairman, Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), Mr. Gbenga Adebayo, however, said the operators were not beneath any obligation to acquaint the subscribers that their SIM cards had become abeyant afterwards 180 canicule of actuality abeyant on the network, abacus that subscribers do not accept buying appropriate over the SIM card.
According to him, telecoms operators pay accretion amount for anniversary SIM agenda as able-bodied as ceremony amount for anniversary SIM agenda that is registered to a subscriber, and as such it would not accomplish bread-and-butter faculty to absorb any SIM agenda that is abeyant on a arrangement that it amount so abundant to maintain.
Telecoms operators who batten with THISDAY on the affair of 180 canicule authority aeon for SIM card, said they were alone acting in accordance with the adjustment of the NCC, which stipulates that any SIM agenda that is not in use for a aeon of 180 days, should be declared as abeyant and could be reassigned to addition subscriber.
Responding to the affair why telecoms operators do not acquaint subscribers afterwards declaring their SIM cards dormant, Lead, Public Relations at 9Mobile, Mr. Chineze Amanfo, said his aggregation and added telecoms operators belted SIM cards, few weeks afore dormancy.
“The brake could be to anticipate the subscriber from accepting argument messages, calls or alike authoritative calls or sending out argument messages. If the subscriber notices one or two of these hitches, such subscriber will be accountable to abode complaint at the chump account centre area the subscriber will be abreast about the restrictions and the acumen for agreement such restrictions. But best times, subscribers do not acquaintance such restrictions because they accept either absent the SIM agenda or alone it,” Amanfo said.
A telecoms able who was allotment of the experts that advised and developed the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) for Nigeria in 1998, Mr. Olusola Teniola, who is currently the President of the Association of Telecoms Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), told THISDAY that it was alone in Nigeria that telecoms subscribers claimed buying of SIM cards.
According to him, the government owns SIM cards, sells them to telecoms operators through their regulator, the NCC, and allows the operators to accredit the SIM cards to subscribers, through biometric registration.
He said: “Government is the babysitter of the GSM technology and government owns and controls every SIM agenda that operates on the GSM network, and the operators whom government has allowable to annals the SIM card, do not charge to seek subscribers’ permission afore reassigning a SIM that has slipped into cessation and abide abeyant on a arrangement that is maintained by the operators at a cost.”
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